Genesis of people’s perception of forest fires in Western Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, India: Causes and remedies

Author(s): KapilKumar Joshi, Dr.Vinay Sharma

This paper highlights a historical account of forest fires in the western Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. Journey goes back to colonial rule in India when Britishers had started viewing Indian forest wealth as a much beneficial commercial venture. While doing so they completely overlooked even the basic customary and traditional rights of its Indigenous people. Paper features the regulatory rules imposed by the colonial rulers and their repercussion on the forest health of the region. Forests which were taken as a community asset during the regime of local rulers gradually started coming under the crown’s property through various settlements and classifications. This triggered an unrestrained expression of emotion by the villagers which virtually shattered the whole of the western Himalayan belt of India. The author proposes, through this paper, that the present relationship between the forest and its dependent communities is in no way better than what it had been hundred years before and suggests few strong corrective measures to turn foes into friends, for a much wider cause of protection of unique Himalayan ecosystem.

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